Who can benefit from GIFT?
GIFT can help overcome many of the same infertility problems as IVF, including:
- Ovulatory disorders
- Low sperm mobility or low sperm count
- Hostile cervical mucus
- Age related issues
- Other problems with traditional conception such as physical disability
GIFT can also help women with endometriosis, as long as this has not affected the workings of the fallopian tubes.
GIFT is not appropriate for women with blocked or damaged fallopian tubes or uterine problems such as adhesions.
The success of the procedure is similar to conventional IVF, with a pregnancy rate of around 20-30% per cycle. This will naturally vary with factors such as age, the quality of the eggs and sperm, and the nature of the original problem.
The GIFT Procedure
A complete cycle of GIFT infertility treatment takes around 20-25 days, typically starting on the third day of menstruation.
Stage 1 – Ovary Stimulation
The ovaries usually produce just one egg per cycle, so medication is used to stimulate multiple eggs to develop. Ovary growth is monitored using ultrasound for around ten – fourteen days of injections, and hormone levels are checked.
Stage 2 – Egg Collection
When the ovary and eggs are mature the eggs are collected. This is done through the vagina, using a needle guided by ultrasound, and takes around twenty minutes.
Stage 3 – Egg and Sperm Combination
Up to three eggs are combined with sperm straight away at a ratio of around 200,000:1. The resulting mixture is then immediately returned to the mother’s fallopian tubes by laparoscopy. This involves a small incision in the abdomen, through which a thin instrument, called a laparoscope, is inserted to ensure the mixture is deposited in the right place. The procedure takes place under a local anaesthetic and the patient should be able to go home the same day.
Stage 4 – Fertilisation
Fertilisation then occurs naturally within the fallopian tubes, as one or more of the eggs combine with the sperm.
Stage 4 – Pregnancy test
After two weeks a standard pregnancy test can be conducted to assess the result of the procedure.